Order of St. Benedict of Avis, Grand Cross Breast Star
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The Imperial Order of St. Benedict of Avis (Imperial Ordem de São Bento de Avis) was originally founded in Portugal by King Ãfonso Henrique in 1162. It was founded to reward the knights who had expelled the Moors from Portugal, and who had defended the Roman Catholic Church.
When King João I/John I of Portugal arrived to Brazil in 1807, he was the Grand Master of the three antiques religious-military Orders (Order of Aviz, Order of Santiago, and Order of Christ). While ruling from Rio de Janeiro, he continued creating knights of these orders in the new royal society of Brazil. The Order of Aviz became the second most important Brazilian Order after the Order of Christ.
In 1821, King João I returned to Portugal and left his son D. Pedro I ruling Brazil in his stead. D. Pedro I declared himself Emperor of Brazil and declared the Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1822. Since then, the Order was awarded in both Brazil and Portugal.
In 1826, D. Pedro I returned to Portugal and left his son D. Pedro II as regent of the empire. Since then Pedro II became the Grand Master of the Brazilian Order’s branch until 1890.
In 1843 the Order was regulated in Brazil and became a national Order without its religious character; it became to recognize honorable and exceptional services to the state.
By the same time, the design of the Order also was modified; the suspension was changed by an Imperial Brazilian crown, and the surrounded wreath was composed of coffee and tobacco branches. Also, the color of the ribbon was changed from red to red with blue stripes edges.The Order displayed the same design for civilians and military personnel, either Brazilians or foreigners.
The grades of the Order were three; Grand Cross, Commander, and Knight. The Grand Cross was limited to twelve bestowals, besides of the royal family and foreign nobility; the Commander and Knight were unlimited.
Finally, the Order was reformed as a decoration for the Brazilian Army on March 22, 1890, and it was rescinded by the decree of February 24, 1891.
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